Sometimes empathy plays a rolewhich leads us to take actions that we think will help wild animals, while in reality we are putting them in danger. The most dangerous of these actions, and probably the most widespread, is the action give food to animals to think it can make their life easier or that it might be a way to enjoy their presence more easily. The idea that this behavior is not a good idea at all does not seem to be a thought that crosses the mind of those who very often perform these small gestures in good faith and find them helpful and compassionate.
For wild animals, finding food is actually an activity they require a large investment of time and energy and for this reason they willingly accept the offers that people make them, without understanding that behind this behavior lies a great and dangerous trap that people often set, even if they have no ill intentions towards the animals. Let’s try to remove the romantic aspect of this action and change the intentions with which this offering of food is made when it is done by a poacher.
One way is to make food available to wild animals to get used to human presence, to prevent them from recognizing danger, to reduce the instinctive defenses animals have against a human predator. In this way, the food will be used to keep the animals moving closer to where they know they will find low energy food sources that are available without having to somehow find and capture them. Unbeknownst to them, it may also be waiting for them over time trappoisoned bite or shot.
So the intention alternates between those who want to kill the animal and those who think to help it, but often the end result does not change. Animals accustomed to receiving food from humans become confidants, move closer to human settlements and may thus expose themselves to danger or pose a danger to humans. To avoid accidents animals but also humans must fear each other and understand that there must be no interactions. Behaviors that animals have instinctively, but that humans change, more or less consciously.
The search for food, and sometimes the difficulty of finding it, are part of the challenges that wild animals have to face, but also the activities that make up the panel of their ethological needs, to the change of which we must never contribute. In truly exceptional cases, such as incredibly cold winters, which are increasingly unlikely due to climate change, one can think about making food available, but it must be done episodically and without establishing a link between the presence of people and the resource.
Unfortunately, the news is full of stories of animals ending badly because of a lack of fear of humans. Juan Carritothe most famous Martian bear in Abruzzo together with his mother Amarena, both died in tragic circumstances caused by belonging to men or the Bambotto deer, which was domesticated enough to enter the living rooms of houses in the small village of Pecol in the Belluno area, are just three “famous and recent” examples of animals that died due to habituation to humans. Amarena and Bambotto killed by gunshot and Juan Carrito died in a car crash, despite having previously escaped thousands of dangers from his raids in the villages.
In order for the National Park to always remain in Abruzzo, it carries out information campaigns for tourists do not offer food to foxes, who, due to the irresponsible behavior of motorists, got used to begging for food on the side of the road. This habit leads to the annual massacre of foxes mowed down by vehicles, which the animals no longer recognize as a danger, but only as a large container of food resources. And so, walking through the streets that cross the park, it is very easy to meet these small opportunistic carnivores waiting for food on the side of the roads or dying in a pool of blood that spreads on the asphalt. A consequence of apparently positive behavior.
It poses the same danger bird feeders, especially if they are not properly positioned and with measures to prevent predators, and especially our domestic cats, from setting deadly traps for them. The natural world is already full of danger for animals: for this reason, it should be the duty of humans to try not to interfere in their lives and to understand that there must be a fair separation between our world and theirs. Their salvation is born out of this division, and our awareness must grow that so many miracles must be protected.